Ah the memories...and a little heartache...

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

For those that do not already know, Trinity have been living in Bozeman, Montana for the last three months. Trinity is attending a fantastic little school and we are getting settled in, except we have a problem. Half of our family is still in Oregon! Well, this holiday season has brought us one step closer to resolving that.

We traveled back to Baker City for Christmas and when the dust had settled, I drove back to Bozeman with TWO kids! Arguably this is bittersweet as we left behind a wife and mother that we all miss terribly. The good news on that front is that Autumn is also moving forward as well, starting a new job in Minneapolis this week. Like I said, bittersweet for sure.

But I didn't start this post to depress you or garner sympathy. We chose this path and are both content in the process. Sometimes the day to day stuff gets hard, but we expected that as well. No, this post is more about regular stuff. (No, not poop. That'd be gross!)

After Christmas was over, the kids and I left Boise and headed home. I have taken two routes on this journey; during the summer the route has been through West Yellowstone and during the winter months I have stuck to the freeways. Both routes take us through Idaho Falls. This time I had pulled off in Idaho Falls for an Eggnog Latte. I do not stop for coffee much anymore, gas station fare is the usual preference since it's much more efficient to fuel up, empty your bladder and quench one's thirst all in one stop (and gas station coffee is usually gross). But Autumn had reminded me that Eggnog is seasonal and that I should take advantage while I could. I married a sharp lady, I think I'll keep her!

We pulled off the freeway and I grabbed my cup of  coffee. We were pulling out of the parking lot when I realized that we were right next to Walmart. Now, I understand that the previous sentence likely evoked a wide range of reactions that range from excited to disgusted (much like this years presidential election!), but for me the reaction was more like a flashback. I was transported momentarily (and thank goodness it was momentary because I was driving on ice and snow) to September 17th of last year (weird to think of 2016 as last year already) when Trin and I stopped at that exact Walmart, parked the pickup and trailer and slept in a Walmart parking lot. I know she won't remember much about it, but it was then that I realized that our family really was on an adventure!

The rest of the trip was excruciatingly long, but largely uneventful which is really nothing short of a miracle given that I, with our two kids, 6 and 8 years old, drove 590 miles over 11 hours through all kinds of weather. But it really wasn't too bad, just long. Really long. Wait, I said that already. Onward!

This last week we put the kids in a ski camp up a Bridger Bowl. It was a trial of sorts to see if they were ready for the youth ski league. Spoiler: they're not really ready this year. But that's not the point of all this. The point is that we went up there and I watched, essentially for the first time, my kids go ski with someone other than family or friends for an extended period of time. They were on their own. My heart does a little flip just thinking about it. I suppose that it was like seeing them ride the bus to school for the first time, only that was never that big a deal for me. This was and it surprised me. I watched them get in the lift line with the other littles and get on the big lift by themselves, snapped a couple of pictures with my phone and then turned to go. It was hard and not altogether comfortable. Maybe a growing up moment? Likely, but more for me than them!

Now, for your enjoyment (okay, mostly my enjoyment), here is a picture of Dad and Sue taking a selfie with one of two new smartphones (a first for them). Ah, if you could have heard the conversation! For everything else, there's Mastercard!

Also, it turns out that our apartment came with a built in climbing wall at no extra charge! I am particularly impressed a) that the helmet was his idea b) how badly he REALLY wants a piece of rope, which I know because he has only told me a BILLION TRILLION times, and c)  with his idea to use chairs as both scaffold and landing pad. Ah, kids! And yes, that's a bungee cord hooked to a heat vent as well. Safety first!


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